Incentives for alternative fuel vehicles on the table

Energy legislation had the most activity last week and will be prominent again this week in the legislature.

Companion bills introduced by Rep. Greg Wren, R-Montgomery and Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster to provide incentives for the purchase of vehicles or the installation of refueling equipment for vehicles that are powered by compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, propane, or electricity. The bill also promotes biodiesel and ethanol production in the state. While it is late in the session for newly introduced bills to get much traction, the Senate version of this bill will be in committee on Wednesday.

Also, a bill that has been stalled for several weeks appears to be moving again. The legislation would create a research and grant program at the Department of Agriculture and Industries for alternative fuel. It is slated to be voted on in the same committee meeting Wednesday.

Last week, the water policy committee met to discussed proposed legislation and plans going forward. The Office of Water Resources presented about two bills it is working on, and the Alabama Rivers Alliance discussed the comprehensive water planning bill that was introduced two weeks ago. While the committee acknowledged that the bill is not likely to pass this session, it was interested in getting the conversation going about water planning for 2013.

The Senate Transportation, Utilities, and Infrastructure Committee will hold a public hearing Wednesday on the proposal to extend the landfill moratorium until May 2014. The same committee is expected to vote on the bill in a separate meeting on Thursday.

Finally, Rep. Mac McCutcheon, R-Capshaw has introduced promising legislation to require the Alabama Department of Transportation to do a life-cycle cost analysis of major infrastructure projects. Such an analysis would look not only at the initial construction costs, but maintenance, costs to users, as well as the reconstruction, rehabilitation and resurfacing costs over a 50-year period. The findings of a life-cycle cost analysis could make Alabama much more efficient and strategic in its allocation of limited transportation dollars.

You can follow legislation related to the environment each week on Conservation Alabama’s Hot List at conservationalabama.org.

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